628 for Hero's War, completing the chapter
They would take two weeks to reach Barin, where they would collect the summoners, and there the roads were back to the usual bad conditions.
Cato sat on the cart, watching the supplies roll past in covered wagons. Landar and his cart containing the latest in magic detectors and a magic circle workshop had needed a wheel replacement so they were sitting here watching the logistics while the carpenter replaced the wheel.
Cato recognized these wagons. Those were filled with the canned chokos with added yama syrup for sweetness. Since the northern area past the Snow Wall was a desert, Cato had raised concerns of scurvy being a possibility. Most of the food being transported were grains and dried meat after all. So Kalny had drawn up a special production series of canned chokos. As a dessert, the sweetened fruit would also help with morale, so the Guard had decided to add it to their diet, though sparingly.
Landar however, was eyeing her set of carts with a much more dangerous look. The stacks of tubes hidden under the oiled cloths contained the second iteration of her incendiary rocket project. With much stricter quality control of the body, a specially built ball mill for grinding the fuel powders ever more finely, and spin stabilization of the rockets, Landar's rockets had reached a level of reliability that the Guards had allowed her to bring a set of a hundred along as an experimental artillery unit.
Landar hummed to herself as she doodled ideas for warhead fuses. Cato could see her smile every time she glanced up at the rocket cart.
"Are the rockets really that interesting?" Cato asked.
Landar just nodded and continued humming as she surveyed the experimental results of the latest impact fuse design, drawing possible improvements on her notepad.
A question occurred to Cato, if they were going to investigate the summoning stones, he needed to know what the summoners might need. Normally, summoners were self-contained weapons, which made them useful problem solvers. But with the advent of the overcharge training, they might not want to stop training while on a long campaign. And Cato had completely forgot to ask what they might need.
"I wonder what additional logistics the summoners might require if they want to do training while on the move? Any ideas, Landar?"
She ignored Cato's question. Or perhaps she was just distracting herself from thinking about how they were heading back to the Iris Clan shortly after leaving. Cato sighed, at least he had got Landar to stop pouting whenever her family was mentioned. Though making newer and ever more deadly weapons was a rather strange coping mechanism, Cato wouldn't have her any other way.
Landar looked up as he ran a hand through her black ponytail. "Hm?"
"It's nothing," Cato smiled. "Perhaps if you described the problem you are facing, it might help?"
Landar smiled back. "Well, the original impact fuse design uses a spot of magic to detect when a large shock is received. And while it's very reliable, the problem is that the signal causes a short delay between the impact and the explosion. By the time the signal reaches the warhead, it has either cracked or scattered its contents into the small crater, so the bursting charge to spread the living fire around only makes a small plume in a random direction or is just completely useless. "
Cato nodded. "Then how did the Guards approve your live testing?" he asked.
"Well, for a large target like a zombie swarm, you don't need that much accuracy. So I used a time fuse and the usual disruption sensors. " Landar smiled beatifically, "the cone of fire the rocket make when detonating is simply beautiful!"
With rewriting of previous work on the chapter totaling to 412 words.
"Furthermore, the bullet design has been refined, like a dart with fins to stabilize it without the need for rifling. This and the higher speed plus positioning the inertial enchantment onto the head allows the Model 2 to shoot more accurately. Though the bullets work even in the New Model gun, their production requires higher precision and is too limited to be used as general issue. "
The man held up the gun and pointed to where the original loading spot was. Instead of a metal bar held closed with a spring, there was a gear-like wheel with teeth there and a bolt attached to a sliding base plate below the firing spot. "This here is inspired by Cato's description of revolvers, though obviously not the same. The trigger, when pulled, turns the ratchet above to drag the clip of bullets up by one position just before firing. The clips are small wooden strips that hold the bullets in the gun and can be reloaded simply by pushing the clip into the gun. Each clip holds ten bullets. "
The man detached the straight block of metal below the loading spot to show the top bullet inside the rectangular chamber that held the ammo clip. Fixing it back into place, the trainer pulled the bolt forwards into firing position. He then pushed a clip of dart-like bullets into the gun, making sure the teeth of the gear caught on the holes in the wooden clip. He let the bolt stay open, inviting Cato and Curasym to view the mechanism and bullet.
"Pulling the bolt backwards serves as a safety when a clip is loaded. The trigger will not be able to pull the next bullet upwards and thus the gun cannot fire. Alternately, it also moves the base plate to hold manually loaded bullets in place; if there is no clip, the ratchet is not engaged and the trigger can be pulled into firing position. Using this bolt and the ratchet, the Model 2 can be fired as fast as pulling the trigger. Allow me to demonstrate. "
He checked the bolt before firing, almost out of habit. Bracing the gun against his shoulder and held up by his left hand, the trainer aimed down the range and fired with the characteristic supersonic crack. He corrected his aim and pulled the trigger again, though Cato noted the trigger action was much heavier than the original gun models when they were just a magical signal.
600 for the unnamed wish book story
"Oh fine," I grab the pen, not quite sure where my irritation is coming from. Just as I'm about to write the wish, I pause to think. Is it really so bad? Being honest, David is the spitting image of my dreams when I was younger. But he's just being manipulated right? It's just fake. But there's no downside right? This is not some kind of Aesop where this always ends badly.
"Alice? Hello?" Sinna brings me back with a concerned question. "You... can't be actually considering it? I mean, it was just a joke. Or do you really like him?"
Ah. I've never been embarrassed so much before and now three times in a day? I think my cheeks might fall off at this rate. A joke? Just you wait.
I pick up the pen and write swiftly. I wish Sinna to have an exciting romance. She recovers from her shock just a second too late and knocks the pen out of my hand. "What are you doing?!" she practically chokes when it becomes clear what I'm writing. But you started it. I know I'm being childish but there's just no way I can reverse that wish. I... I don't really know what to think anymore.
She snatches for the pen but I hold her wrist. "Before that, just hypothetically, I would like to know who that would be for you?" I ask her. Must be someone she had a passing encounter with, since she doesn't know any boys besides her cousins. She blushes furiously, shakes my hand off and stares at the book with a twitch on her face.
"That's... Not telling," she twitches uncomfortably for a while then drops the pen, "It's no use, I can't write it. "
Mmm? This could be interesting! "If I had to guess based on the potential for drama, could it be David?" I ask, hoping I get it wrong. That would be... ugh, I don't know. Just not nice.
"No! Not him. I can't stand to be around him!" she practically snaps at me. That's about as angry as she ever got. What a change, from being fine with him only a few minutes ago. I look at her more closely to try and get some clues but she just blushes more and dives into her bed, taking refuge under the blankets.
It's a long moment as we both think things over for a while. My, today was really weird huh? And to think I'm being so... stupid and... well, I hate to admit it, but I was being really petty there. Perhaps I should just reverse the wish for her, that would be best. Then she can do it for me afterwards and it'll just be something to laugh over.
Can I really accept that? Apart from me, it's the perfect chance for Sinna to start getting used to other people. And how would she feel if I reversed it? I can't even write my own, how can I inflict that on her? Or is this just an excuse so I don't get to reverse my own wish? Argh, I can't think my way around all that.
"You know, Sinna," I laugh with a touch of resignation, there's no way out, the wishes can't be reversed. "I think we learned something a bit too late. "
"What?" She squirms under the sheets and pokes her head out.
"There are some wishes you can't undo. "